Brexit woes… redux. November 15, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Whitehall is struggling to cope with the scale of work generated by the Brexit vote and the lack of a common strategy among cabinet ministers, according to a report about a leaked Cabinet Office memo.
The note found that departments are working on more than 500 projects related to leaving the EU and may need to hire an extra 30,000 civil servants to deal with the additional burden of work.
The note, leaked to the Times and said to be dated 7 November, also claimed that “no common strategy has emerged” on Brexit between departments despite extended debate among the permanent secretaries who head Whitehall departments.
As for sovereignty… well in the face of MNCs that rings a little hollow:
In addition, it said major players in industry are expected to “point a gun to the government’s head” to get what they want after the carmaker Nissan was given assurances that it would not lose out from investing in Britain after Brexit.
In a way all this points to the (what to some would seem obvious) dangers of simplification.
Speaking of which I’ve got to admit to agreeing with Mary Mitchell O’Connor in regard to the following comments in the context of government preparations here for Brexit:
[she] compared her UK counterpart’s attitude to Brexit as a husband who wants to divorce his wife but keep all the assets, including the family home.
Particularly when one reads that:
Ms Mitchell O’Connor was surprised by the approach taken by Dr Fox at their recent meeting. He is understood to have said Britain wants to maintain access to the EU single market but also exercise control over immigration, which is at odds with the EU position that single market access must be accompanied by free movement of people.
It is understood Dr Fox said that if the UK was not granted access to the single market, the EU would have to pay compensation to countries such as South Korea, with whom the EU has a free trade deal. Losing Britain as a member of the single market meant the market for South Korea would shrink, and the EU would have to pay compensation to that country for it.
This seems like moonshine to me, the idea of compensation, but what do others think?
Just on Brexit, a fairly curious article in the IT about Eirexit by Harry McGee (I’ve lost the link but it’s easy to find) where he argues that the idea is gaining traction. But with who? Polls, as noted here previously, both before and after the Brexit vote point constantly to the lack of support for any such approach. Those he name checks including doughty campaigners such as Anthony Coughlan are hardly new to the feast. And this I find fairly unconvincing:
Certainly, Eirexit has gained some momentum of late. There is a small but growing band of public figures questioning the basis of Irish EU membership. Some are opposed to any notion of a federal Europe or EU superstate.
In that latter category he goes on to position Michael McDowell. Correct. But they’re not in the first category, at least not yet and not by a long shot. McDowell plays a good rhetorical game on the matter, hunting with the hounds and running with the fox, though in fairness his qualms about a federal EU would be mine too. But as McGee notes ‘he wants to remain in the EU’.
Are these a collection of disparate and peripheral voices, or do they reflect a population far less enamoured of Brussels than its political leaders?
Well all he has to do to answer that question is to look at polling data. And that does not reflect that view.
Meanwhile he mentions the following:
An important voice was added to the debate on Friday when Frank Keoghan of the Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union became the first significant trade union voice to challenge the nature of Ireland’s future relationship with the EU.
I don’t think Keoghan is incorrect when he says Ireland has a completely unsustainable business model. Whether an alternative can be found outside the EU is very much open to question. As it stands in a time of Brexit and Trump it may be that Ireland is best positioned within the EU providing a stark contrast with our immediate neighbour which is outside it. Otherwise it is all too easy to see Ireland becoming a UK mini-me, with essentially the same factors in play but with none of its economic weight. Indeed I’d argue that if we are talking about sovereignty, then the chances for a fundamental diminution of same is more rather than less likely if we find ourselves forced into a closer relationship with the UK outside the EU.
And it’s telling that Keoghan himself posits in such terms:
“People need to look with fresh eyes at Ireland’s relations with the EU on the one hand and with Britain on the other.”
What’s also telling is how on the one hand he rightly criticises the EU for many of its current problems, but then seems to flip to implicitly supporting some of those exact same approaches in a post-Eirexit world.
He said with Britain departing, Ireland would lose a vital ally in the fight against EU-imposed tax harmonisation which he expects Germany, France and Italy to push for to prevent other member states from offering lower taxes.
“With an Irish currency based on competitive exchange rates, corporation tax rates at enforceable reasonable levels and a bank credit policy that encouraged investment for productive purposes, Ireland should become significantly more attractive for foreign investment than it if it were to remain in the EU following Britain’s departure.”
But what do the people of this state want? Again, the polling suggests overwhelming support for remain. So overwhelming that no political formation has come near to making it a central plank of their approach. And given the example of what is happening a few hundred miles to the east and north is there any great surprise there?